WHAT BIRD IS THAT?

Identifying birds around my home location are not always easy.

Especially when you’ve only got blurred shots and no, (or not much), head and beak visible.

Yesterday, I photographed a new bird in the Japanese Maple in front of my balcony fence.  The  windows, through which I was viewing the bird, were dirty so the autofocus kept zooming in and out – one minute on the bird and a couple of seconds later the dusty raindrops on the window (or green foliage blowing in the breeze).

In the shot below, you can see what looks like a grey or dark blue back, so it’s definitely not a Silvereye which is olive-green.

I was just about to delete the blurred shots this afternoon thinking it was just another Silvereye, when I realized the back of the bird was grey or bluish-grey……and the beak was dark and too long for a Silvereye.

The mystery deepened with the faint splodges of yellow on the bird’s back below.   They were very faint.

I can see this bird’s outline fairly easy on my 27″ iMac, but if you have a small laptop or ipad, you probably can’t see anything much.

Then I managed to get the back half of the bird in better focus showing the rump as being pale whitish.

Then it moved almost upside-down showing more of white-greyish underparts.

I cropped the photo down so that only the bird showed.

I could see what looked like black bands on its neck (above).

The images were just too blurred.

With that downy-looking soft feathered rump, maybe it’s a chick or young bird?

I finally decided it was a young White-plumed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus penicillatus), a bird I’d seen last year but not close enough to get a sharply focused image.

The only image of a White-Plumed Honeyeater I could find just now is the one below – photographed from quite some distance away and the image cropped down a fair bit.   It was made at the Jawbone Conservation Reserve and Marine Sanctuary in Williamstown on the nearest coastal area to my home.    (I’ve been there 4 times since I moved to the western suburbs and am keen to go back in Summer……..one day……..when the lockdown is over perhaps).

WHITE-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus penicillatus) ???

But then I remembered the bird I photographed on my balcony fence in 2017.   I thought it was a Grey Thrush-Shrike but a follower suggested something different (I can’t remember what he suggested).

GREY SHRIKE-THRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica) on my blacony fence rail.

Keep your fingers crossed the bird comes back another day so I can correctly identify it.

In the meantime, the first thing after breakfast this morning, I cleaned the exterior glass on my lounge windows.

Then I opened the sliding door wide open and set ALL 3 cameras beside my desk with the lens caps off.

I kept glancing up to the Japanese Maple and listened intently as the Superb Fairy-wrens chirped away to each other.   I can do this for hours, but I was catching up on the latest TV news between each glance to the outdoors.

Finally at 2.20pm I saw it.

I tried in vain to get a clear shot –  rather unsuccessfully – but here it is.

A female Superb Fairy-wren singing her little heart away to any male in the area.

It wasn’t a clear view, but it was in much better focus than yesterday’s efforts.

On a sadder note, another couple of branches on the Japanese Maple have died (see upper right in the image below).

Below, you can see where the dead branch from last year was cut off.

The Body Corporate who administer this apartment  building called out a horticultural expert and he said that the heavy rains hadn’t drained away last year and this was what was killing it – water-logged due to insufficient drainage.

I noticed at the start of winter that not all the leaves dropped off in Autumn.   I didn’t realize those dead leaves clung to a dead branch.

The best way to capture moments is to pay attention.  This is how we cultivate mindfulness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Hopefully, when I look back on this strict lockdown in Melbourne, I’ll remember the little moments that kept me entertained and gave me something to write about in the absence of nature walks.